Homemade Dog Toys

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
December 8, 2010

dog with rope toyAs I watched our puppy rip apart yet another toy, it occurred to me that I might as well hand her the ten dollar bill to chew. I'm wasting my money buying pet toys at the store time and time again. Instead, there are cheaper homemade toys that are just as fun for the pup and much easier on my wallet.


Sock Toys

Old socks make great dog toys. Watch out that your pup doesn't think every sock is a toy, but it's easier to put socks away than to buy dozens of expensive chew toys. Be creative and make some great toys with your old tube socks. Just remember to take any small pieces so the dog doesn't eat the sock.

Stuff multiple socks inside one main sock. Tie the end and hand it off. Your dog has a great new chew toy without the stuffing that becomes such a problem. She can peel the layers off like an onion or chew all day. If you have a young pup, make the sock toy before washing the sock. We might not like the smell, but your puppy will appreciate your scent when you're away from home.

Double layer socks by stuffing one inside another. Then, fill the inside sock with sawdust. It's a different type of chew toy for a less aggressive chewer. If sawdust isn't available, use small animal bedding or a similar product.


The tug rope is the greatest toy to have when playing with a dog. Instead of purchasing a knotted rope at the pet store, make your own with old socks or t-shirts. Hold two socks together and knot them with other socks to create length. Make the knots tight so they don't give way while playing.

Water Bottles

Recycle in a whole new way with bottled water. After visiting the pet store for one more dog toy, I found an expensive but innovative toy. It was a stuffed raccoon, but instead of stuffing inside there was an empty water bottle. It made a pleasing crunching sound, and when the bottle was crushed a Velcro opening allowed it to be replaced. This gave me an idea, and I started to raid the recycling bin.

Combine the sock and the water bottle to recreate this toy. Place an empty plastic water bottle inside an old sock. Knot the sock and watch the fun.


Poke holes in the water bottle and remove the cap. Then, fill it with small or crushed dog treats. It works like the well-known Kong, allowing the dog to pester the bottle until small pieces of treats come out of the opening. If she destroys the bottle and gets the snacks, take the plastic before she can eat it and use a new bottle tomorrow.

On hot days fill the water bottle half way with water and lay it on its side in the freezer. Your dog has a solid chewing toy that will cool him in the hot weather, but it isn't too hard for his teeth.

Our pup invented the water bottle toy on her own. I left an empty bottle on the floor only to find her running through the house in absolute joy at her newly found toy. I did nothing to it, and it was just as pleasing to her.


Sew Your Own

Know that certain craft stores sell the squeaky inserts for toys as well as sound chips that will be activated when squeezed. Inserting these deep inside the sock toys or generic stuffed toys found at yard sales will make a perfect toy.

To create the stuffing free toy that so many stores sell, buy some heavy fabric and get out your sewing machine. Cut out a basic shape - dogs don't care. Layer six or seven layers of the fabric on top of each other, sewing each layer to the one below it.

Remember, it's okay for your furry friend to destroy his toys now. It only takes five minutes to make new ones.

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22 More Solutions

This page contains the following solutions.

June 1, 2009

When making noise-making pet toys, such as the ones using empty water bottles, potato chip canisters, or pill bottles, use dry food or treats instead of the suggested marbles, bells, etc.


April 22, 2005

My dog loves to chew on empty 20-ounce pop bottles, so I made an inexpensive variation of that. Take a 20-ounce pop bottle, drop a couple of dried beans inside, and put the cap on tightly.


September 10, 2008

Check out the remnant rack at your local fabric store. Find fleece, any kind, and cut it in 2 inch wide by 24 or 36 inch long strips.


Place 3 together tie the ends together knotting it twice and start braiding to the end. Tie the other end.


October 8, 2010

Now that our puppy is older and much bigger, I've been forced to come up with a new way to keep her entertained and out of my hair when I am cooking dinner.


February 11, 2012

My dog loves a light stuffed toy hanging from a doorway on a length of elastic at a length that requires her to leap at to snatch at and grab. Then the toy is snapped away by the elastic when she lets go! She loves it, and so do I. It gives her exercise and we never get bored.


Bronze Craft Medal for All Time! 52 Crafts
August 30, 2011

Give your furry friends a Christmas present by sewing these cute animals. The patterns are very simple and inexpensive to make. This is also a great way to use up those scraps!

Homemade Pet Toys


March 12, 2012

I put small bits of food in a Parmesan cheese container for our dog. Older dogs are unable to chew it up, but can get hours of enjoyment trying to get the treat out.

Parmesan Cheese Container


July 28, 2015

Use your old socks to make dog toys. Buy some squeakers, you can buy them in bulk online. I found them on Amazon. Roll one in some socks to make a small ball. Stuff that in a long one and tie one or two knots in it.


It lasts longer than all those toys. Squeakers are optional, but the dogs like the hanging parts that flip around.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
July 10, 2008

This cheap dog toy also provides an IQ challenge. Put a piece of dog biscuit or a treat in a Propel water bottle (with no cap and the plastic retainer ring removed).


September 11, 2013

Put a dog treat under a jar lid and put it on the floor with the dog watching. It works a treat, just keep something handy for rescuing the lid from under the freezer, etc.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

March 29, 2010

I'm looking for an inexpensive way to make toys for a lot of hounds (hunting dogs). Any ideas? Thanks.

By Orinda T. Berg from Gloucester, VA


March 31, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I put a tennis ball into the toe of an old sock and my puppy went wild for it. As he got older I used two socks for added strength. He's nearly two years now and gets excited when a new one surfaces! Tennis balls can be bought cheaply at sporting good stores, but you can easily pick some up at your local college or high school. Tennis players will leave balls that aren't responsive anymore and your dog doesn't care.

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March 5, 2001

Do you have any frugal chew toy ideas for dogs that are safe?

By Joy


March 5, 20010 found this helpful

When my leotards & other such stretchy knit clothes are too worn to wear on any self-respecting human, I wash & dry them & then tie them into big knots for use as dog tug-o-war toys. - Alekscat the frugal feline, Richmond,VA

March 7, 20010 found this helpful

I used to work at a Goodwill thrift store and people would come in and buy the stuffed animals by the bagfuls! They were giving them to their animals as chews toys!! You can also find cheap stuffed toys at the Salvations Army, etc.

May 20, 20020 found this helpful

For the cheap dog toys request, Please let her know that many attended laundrymats keep a lost and found. After so long they discard the clothes. Towels and socks knotted make excellent dog toys. If she can sew, you can get squeakers and rattles at some craft stores. Also greyhound rescues often have days where you can volunteer to help make toys and blankets. If she attends one of these or can talk to the person in charge, you can get the toys cheap, or at least learn to make them.
- Rachel

By hwalz (Guest Post)
May 5, 20040 found this helpful

Yard sales and garage sales are also a source of cheap stuffed animals.

April 25, 20050 found this helpful

Our dog loves playing with empty plastic cola bottles, especially the 2 liter size; Plain ol ordinary twigs & sticks; Ice cubes on the kitchen floor.

By jerica bouchard (Guest Post)
July 19, 20050 found this helpful

well you could take a old sock and stuff it with the other old sock and sew the end together and you have it a inexspenive dog toy. for cats take small baby mittens and
again stuff it with fluff and then sew the end together. (if you want slip alittle catnip in with the fluff) you could watch you cat go crazy with his/her new toy.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 233 Feedbacks
February 10, 20060 found this helpful

My dog only plays with tennis balls, but the ones marketed for pets are not good enough (pop in thirty minutes) In the sporting goods, you can get three for less than the price of two in the pet department if you look for practice balls. Also, tennis clubs may have them for sale if you go through a lot, and I have even seen used ones at thrift stores. We always found one per week during the summer at the apartment tennis courtyard we lived next to! THe longest he has kept one intact (or not lost) is one year.

For my cat (passed on in 2004) she loved those plastic seals from frozen orange juice concentrate cans, they were big enough to not fall apart when she chewed them, but we always had a ton under the refridgerator!


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February 10, 20060 found this helpful careful on your choices for chew toys...when they misplace their favorite, they WILL look for replacements. I had that problem with shoes. My husband gave a puppy we had an old slipper, then she started on others. And if you have young kids, or plan to have them around, stay away from squeakers and rattles in the softies...a lot of baby snuggles have them.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 277 Posts
February 15, 20060 found this helpful

I pick my dog's toys at either garage sales or thrift stores, but Walmart also has a great assortment for $1.

March 24, 20060 found this helpful

I'd be careful about using soda bottle caps - I always take them away from my dog because of concern about choking. I've also heard of dogs choking on ice cubes.

My dog isn't a big chewer, so she is okay with the soft plastic yogurt tops. She likes to carry them around and hoard them.
You could also use the lid of a soft plastic container (like generic Cool Whip top) as a frisbee - just watch for chewing.

Dog also likes stuffed rabbits with embroidered faces - found at garage sale or thrift store. I don't have to worry about eyes coming off. Watch for choking hazards with stuffed animals.
Also, my vet said to be careful about plastics that break - they could cause an obstruction or perforation. (I have to watch for plasticware - she finds everything and carries it around or chews a bit.)

I've seen dogs that like to play with a trickle of water from the hose - fun when you are watering things. Then they play in the puddles on patio.

April 18, 20060 found this helpful

Our doberman goes through dog toys like water. Any stuffed or soft toy, she rips apart within a half hour. The hard "chew-proof" toys? A joke. She destroys them in a day or two. My solution: I take old rags or wash cloths, cut them in half, fold in half, sew up two sides, turn inside out, stuff with two or three plastic grocery bags, and sew the last side closed. She LOVES them. She really seems to enjoy the "crunchy" sound and texture of the bags inside.

She also got quite a kick out of a large white plastic vitamin bottle (empty and clean), with dried beans inside, all stuffed inside a large sock and tied off. We had to keep an eye on her, though, and take the bottle away once she had broken it open and started chewing on it.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 233 Feedbacks
April 19, 20060 found this helpful

For Ree - try racquet balls, the blue ones by Wilson (?) They are guaranteed for game use, but the dobe/lab puppy we had could only play with that ball because she would destroy EVERYTHING (including my shoes and a squeaky gorilla she disembowled!)

By Lynn (Guest Post)
September 8, 20060 found this helpful

those are good toy ideas but my pup is a pomeranian a toy dog about the size of a medium stuffed dog toy. he loves the little ping pong balls my dad gives him. he goes MAD for them he runs around trying to hold them in his mouth but it pops out since its slippery then he starts running around pushing it with his nose. you could also take a toilet paper roll and fill it with peanut butter and twist it and lighty tie the ends put a little on the outside and your dog will go mad for the pb

By Hamrsark (Guest Post)
December 9, 20070 found this helpful

I see where the one person says his/her dog(s) ONLY play with tennis do mine! But instead of BUYING tennis balls, I went to the local tennis club and ask if they would be throwing any out soon (they only keep them a few months then toss them!). I got a box with about 300 balls in it for FREE! How's THAT for frugal! LOL

By Stngray (Guest Post)
June 7, 20080 found this helpful

Go on E-bay and look for toys made of tire rubber. My German Shep. loves her tire on a rope and she also has an unbreakable large ball on a rope. You can even buy unbreakable soft rubber frizbees, etc. You can search on E-bay and get them brand new cheaper than at the pet stores. Normal toys for regular dogs are a waste of money for powerful dogs and they can be dangerous.

By Laurie (Guest Post)
June 7, 20080 found this helpful

Someone on Freecycle had a bag of large empty Propel bottles (they're VERY hard plastic). My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Boston Terrier love them! I take off the cap and the label, and they could play for hours. Now THAT'S frugal!

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Check out these photos.

September 13, 2010

Puppies are the best! That is, until you're trying to do your house work and your puppy is constantly underfoot. I have a tip that I use once in a while to gain me some peace.

Puppy laying on towel.


December 27, 2016

This is a page about making a rag knots chewing toy. If your dog loves to chew and play tug-o-war, a rag knots chew toy is perfect for them.

Rag Knots Chewing Toy

May 7, 2019

Dogs can destroy store bought toys faster than you might expect. If you are spending a lot of money on dog toys, consider making your own out of old scraps and dish towels.

Dog Toy from Old Dish Towels  - dog pulling on towel toy

January 3, 2017

This is a page about squeakers for dog toys. If you are making or repairing dog toys you will need squeakers for them.

An orange and black bone shaped dog toy with a squeaker inside.

December 27, 2016

This is a page about making a braided fleece dog toy. You dog will love this easy to make braided tug-o-war toy.

Braided Fleece Dog Toy - finished lying on a table


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 8, 2010

I am looking for a pattern for fleece dog lanyards/pull toys. Anyone out there have any ideas? Thanks.


December 7, 2009

I have a dog and I am getting a puppy. I need to make some toys for them and I need ideas.


March 29, 2010

I am unemployed and even when I had a job, we wasted a lot of money on pet toys our Lab/Pointer destroyed in a few minutes.


March 23, 2010

I have an 8 week old chocolate Lab/Shepherd and he always tears up his toys. I love to make toys; do you have any ideas on toys I can make him before Christmas?


August 15, 2008
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